I was totally blown away with Lake Ohrid when I visited North Macedonia last year. Its natural beauty and history is outstanding and I’d rate it in my top 10 places to visit in the Balkans. I was also blown away by the capital Skopje but for totally different reasons. Skopje is… interesting.
I used to think Tirana was the quirkiest capital in Europe but I now happily bestow that title upon Skopje. The city is going through a bit rejuvenation at the moment in the form of weird and wacky monuments popping up everywhere. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it but in a way it works. It has added a bit of a spark to the city.
Without all the craziness Skopje would be just another bland city but as things stand there are interesting albeit often over the top monuments around each corner. The most impressive is the massive eight storey high statue of Alexander the Great in the centre of the main square.
Mother Teresa was Albanian but born in Skopje and there’s a museum dedicated to her in the centre of the city. I passed on visiting that but did track down the statue of Skanderbeg, another notable Albanian famous in the region.
The construction of around 20 buildings and 40 monuments since 2010 has been part of the government’s Skopje 2014 project. It was designed to make the city more appealing but in reality it’s starting to look like a theme park. Most people consider it a huge waste of money and much of the senseless construction is a bit of a joke. It’s quite sad when you think around €500 million is being spent on the project while so many citizens are struggling in poverty. It’s definitely a unique place to visit though.